Friday 30 December 2011

Why I Write Morning Pages by Amy Palko

I write morning pages. Every morning without fail. Even when I recently had a pressing engagement through in Glasgow that required I leave the house at 5.30 (with 3 fed, washed & dressed children), I was up at 4.15 in the still quiet of the early morning dark, writing my three A4 pages of longhand stream of consciousness. My pen travelled fluidly across the lined paper and I struggled to keep my eyes open.

A part of me is surprised at myself. I didn’t know I had it in me to be so dedicated to a practice. Give me a challenge, set me a target and I will respond with the most vicious resistance. But morning pages seem to have snuck under the radar somehow. I think it’s because I write them before I’m fully awake. As I begin to slide into consciousness, my limbs languid, my body sleepwarm, I lean across the mattress and fumble around for my large A4 refill pad and my black biro. Pulling my humble writing materials back into the bed with me, I rest my head against my left arm and start writing from this horizontal position.

From this perspective it can sometimes be hard to see where the far edge of the paper is, which has led to a couple of ink stains on the sheets. It can also be hard to see exactly what I’m writing, but that’s ok, because being able to read my pages back over is not really important to me. It’s the act of writing them in the first place that produces the magic. That and quite frequently my pages are filled with garbled nonsense. And I certainly won’t be winning any awards for beautiful penmanship.

But this practice, this practice above all others that I have started and stopped, is now a non-negotiable aspect of my day. It’s one of the very few things that I do solely for me, and to start your day by doing something which is only for you and for the blossoming of your creative self, is a very powerful statement to make. In fact, even if you believe yourself not to be interested in nurturing your creativity, morning pages are a simple act of self-love. A missive to your heart, your mind, that you matter, that you are worth spending the time on.

So, why do I write morning pages? What’s been the result of all these mornings of scribbled pages?

Honestly, dear reader, I believe this practice has led me back to myself. I don’t think I even really knew just how lost I was until I found myself again. I remembered things that I had forgotten. Things like my love of words. My desire to write beautifully. The pleasure that I get when I find flow in describing the sacred wonder I see in the everyday.

I found my voice.

I found my desire.

I found my purpose.

All this from 3 A4 pages of scrawled black biro morning after morning? Could that even be possible? Yes. Yes, I think it can, my lovely. And I would love for you to experience it for yourself.

If you do want to give it a go, or have tried it in the past and then dropped it and want to pick it up again, I have some advice for you…

Take a refill pad of paper and a pen (check it works the night before – running out of ink while writing your pages is the single most annoying thing ever) and place it on the floor beside your bed. Then, upon waking, reach for the pad and pen and start writing. Don’t give yourself time to think about it. You’ll only talk yourself out of doing it in the first place. Just reach for your simple writing tools – no need for that special pen, sharpened HB pencils or expensive journal – and just write. Just write.

A true lover of stories, Amy Palko spends her days reading, writing, knitting and dreaming… well, that is when she's not being kept busy home-educating her three kids! She is the creatrix of Virgins & Lovers: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Goddess, exploring goddess myths and moon cycles through story, journalling, visualisation and creative exercise.


  1. What a great blog about morning pages. Thank you.

  2. You remind me why I have dozens of journals filled with the same kind of not-quite-awake ramblings of the heart. And - more importantly - you remind me why I should return to this practice. :)